Current Issue #488

Provenance and Passion

Provenance and Passion

Vince Jones, one of the great voices and identities of Australian jazz, is returning to Adelaide to play songs from his ARIA Award-winning album with Paul Grabowsky, Provenance. The pair will record a follow-up this year, as Jones tells The Adelaide Review about their partnership and how Australia can push its own version of jazz.

The intimate jazz of Provenance won the Best Jazz ARIA in 2016 and marked the first time the two stalwarts of Australian jazz had recorded together in two decades as Grabowsky was Jones’ musical director in the ‘80s. The record featured an old song by the pair, Rainbow Cake, originals by Jones and his frequent writing partner Matt McMahon as well as arrangements of songs by John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Oh My Love) and The Carpenters (We’ve Only Just Begun).

Their new album will be a sequel to Provenance. It is one of a number of projects Jones will participate in this year including a new album with his regular band and a tour of the popular 1990 soundtrack he recorded with Grace Knight, Come in Spinner.

“What we’re trying to do is get a duet situation where we can provide the entire colour without necessarily using a rhythm section,” Jones says of the follow-up to Provenance. “Paul’s phenomenal at that. He can enchant anyone as a soloist. The two of us together – it’s a lovely combination.”

This will include originals by the pair, as Jones says Grabowsky has sent him a few tracks to work on.

“He’s so busy, because he runs the Monash University of Music, the only chance we get to write is when we’re on the road but he sends me things in the mail, or email, and I try and piece them together. So there will be originals. On Provenance I wrote most of the originals on that with Matt McMahon, apart from the one Paul and I did years ago. We will write some new ones, Paul’s given me two to write, if I come up with something decent it will go on the wax.”

Jones believes that this country is getting closer to creating an Australian jazz, as local artists inject Australian colours into arrangements and compositions.

“It’s as if we’ve come of age where we can inject into jazz our folk history, our politics and our ups and downs. I really like writing lyrics about Australian politics, Australian life in general. We’ll see. There is a still a long road yet. I hope we can plant the seeds to get young players to write their own music with less of an homage to American music, albeit it’s great music, but, we’ve done it in the past. We’ve had some great artists over the years, writers who have come up with an Australian sound, Bernie McGann and Bryce Rohde.”

Vince Jones and Paul Grabowsky Space Theatre Saturday, April 7

Get the latest from The Adelaide Review in your inbox

Get the latest from The Adelaide Review in your inbox